A ScrumMaster and a CEO Walk into a Bar
by James Rosko
Scrum Master Mike and CEO Dave walk into a bar. ScrumMaster Mike says, "Happy Friday! This was a really great week for us!"
In response, CEO Dave says, "Oh really? Well, I'll tell you what, I'll buy you a drink if Development has met or exceeded its target this sprint."
Both men sit down and start to chat without ordering anything.
Excited, Mike replies, "You're making this too easy. With Scrum, the development team always meets its target. You see, we only commit to the amount of work we know we can achieve based on our past performance. If the team over achieves, we just take a look at the work backlog and see what the next highest ranking story is and start work on it."
"Hold on a second, Mike. If the team knows how much work it can do from past performance, how can it ever over achieve? Do they just put in extra effort to get the job done early?"
"Well, after the development team talks over the business requirements, in this case with Cathy, they go write code for a day or so. Just enough to be able to show Cathy what they've come up with. If Cathy likes it, they go back and complete it. If it's not quite what Cathy wanted, they go back and try again."
"So, how did development do this sprint?"
"The team completed all of the software for both of Cathy's new products, the NX-04 and NX-05, so it looks like you owe me a drink! As it turns out, the team had about a week remaining so they added 3 nice-to-have features as well."
Dave turned to Mike and took a deep breath, "Are you telling me that after the development team finished the NX-04 and NX-05, they spent a week added 3 extra features?"
"Yeah, the sprint wasn't over yet so they had some time to add more."
"Did they clear it with Cathy first?"
Mike could see the look on Dave's face, "Um, well, after the NX-04 and NX-05 were done, there weren't any stories left in the backlog so I created a couple new stories to enhance the features of the 2 products. We not only completed everything, we added some extra features as well."
"Does Cathy know you added the extra features?"
Dave waited patiently while Mike thought of a reply. "Well, no, not exactly. But I'm sure she'll be excited to see what a great job the team did!"
Dave is quiet for a moment and then says, "Mike, I know you mean well and I'm sure the team did a fine job, but we are not interested in extra features for the NX-04 or NX-05. The whole company is reorganizing to support the next generation NX-100 series. That's why there were no more stories in your backlog for the NX-04 and NX-05. The only reason we had you guys complete the old series is because we had some remaining orders which require new software for the NX-04 and NX-05. To that end, we don't want any extra features in the old series because we need to focus on selling the next generation NX-100 series to the rest of the customer base." Dave wasn't upset, he looked down at his watch to see the date. "How long will it take to undo?"
"About two days, but why would we want to remove them?"
"The old product series can't have more features than the new series. Also, development should have asked Cathy what to do next rather than developing ahead of requirements. The development team may have met its target, but the target wasn't in line with the rest of us. I'm afraid it's going to cost us extra to undo this. Mike, I think you owe me a drink."
Without hesitation, Mike gets up from the bar and puts down some money to pay for Dave's drink.
"Where are you going?" Dave asks.
"I've got some calls to make," and ScrumMaster Mike walks out of the bar.